Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Monday, September 17, 2012

COEXIST XXXVII - My Worldview Part 5

(See last 4 posts)

The tragedy in the lives of most of us is that we go through life walking down a high-walled land with people of our own kind, the same economic situation, the same national background, and education and religious outlook. And beyond those walls, all humanity lies, unknown and unseen, and untouched by our restricted and impoverished lives.
Florence Luscomb
architect and suffragist
1887-1985

My last five posts have encapsulated my worldview on current topics. I think this quote sums it up nicely. I have just a few more topics to touch on.

I watch a lot of TV reruns from the '60's like "I love Lucy", "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Andy Griffith Show." I realized a long time ago that I was still drawn to them because they reminded me of my childhood. I was the same age as Opie Taylor and Richie Petrie so it is like watching those wonderful years all over again.  The sense of simplicity and security and love in those shows has always been comforting to me. We all wish for "the good old days" in some respect.  But we are not living in those times any longer:
China will soon be the #1 English speaking country in the world.
The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.
There are 5 times as many words in the English language as they were during Shakespeare's life.
The amount of technical information is doubling every two years.
While reading this - 67 babies were born in the United States, 284 in China and 395 in India.
Students in school now are being prepared for jobs that do not even exist yet.

Wow. I am fully aware that my COEXIST way of thinking is idealistic. It is an ideal, a hope, a dream for the world. But if we have no ideals or dreams we have no hope. I believe those of us who have been blessed to be raised and live in middle class America are often short-sighted and sheltered. We have values that we feel strongly about. But our values do not align with reality sometimes. There is a whole world out there that is nothing like ours - with billions of other human beings - all God's children. As human beings we need to care for each other, resist judging each other and strive for peace.

Guns - kill people.   I say - just because it's a right doesn't mean it's right. Same with freedom of speech - when it moves away from civility and respect it's just abuse of a right.  I wonder how many people who carry guns around really ever have to defend their lives (with the exception of certain inner city areas).  The teenage boy in Florida would still be alive if the self-appointed neighborhood watchman hadn't had a gun. That's just the truth. That boy did nothing to deserve to die. Do we really want to revert back to the Old West?

Global Warming - There is overwhelming evidence and agreement of climate experts that humans are causing global warming. They have been warning us since the 1970's. If people are concerned about the world we are leaving to future generations in terms of economics, why are they not concerned about the planet they will live on?
(The hottest decade on record was 2000-2009 with 2010 being the hottest year on record - in the world - not just where we live.)
I remember years when Lake Erie was too dirty to swim in, but this summer I swam in its crystal clear water. I remember doing reports in school on dozens of endangered animals that are no longer in danger of extinction.  Things are better because of agencies like the EPA. Sometimes we need to be saved from ourselves.

If you do not believe in science then I hope you are not going to a doctor or taking medication. It is another case of entitlement - believing we should be able to live the way we want regardless of consequences. I have heard that some believe that God will save us from our consuming ways and abuse of the earth. But when has God ever done that? He does not intervene in tragedy. He does not prevent cancer or tsunamis or accidents - why would he save the planet He entrusted to our care?  Human lives are created by our own free will. It's what makes us human. Free will causes pain and suffering. Free will makes mistakes, but it also allows us to choose truth and beauty sometimes.
See 1 Peter 5:2.

So that's all for a while. I have no idea if anyone has even read any of this, but I am proud that I have come to the point in my life that I am able to articulate what I believe and why.  There were decades of my life when most of these issues never crossed my mind for various personal reasons. But now I am more aware of the world around me, and more aware of what I have learned over the years.

If you've taken the time to ever read this blog - thank you. God bless you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

COEXIST XXXVI - My Worldview Part 4

(see last three posts)

Coexisting and Diversity
It is not against the law to be Muslim, an atheist, or speak a different language in this country.  Immigration and diversity are why we are all here. If you believe that everyone should look, think, act, believe and vote as you do maybe you have forgotten that  the family of man is over 7 billion strong and most of them are not white, middle-class or Christian. Only 33% of the world is Christian.

I do not align myself with any person, publication or organization.  I cannot respect or understand the opinions of some inexplicably popular pundits who have been known to speak out viciously and disrespectfully against blacks, women, Iraq soldiers, 9/11 families, Katrina victims, people who "deserve" to lose their homes in forest fires etc. (You can look these quotes up easily on the Internet). These people fuel intolerance, fear, and a desire to move backwards to an era before civil rights in this country. How sad.

A house divided against itself will fall. Luke 11:17

The most off-putting agenda of certain groups for me is the idea that they are entitled to have everything their way. They appear to take no responsibility for less fortunate fellow citizens, to care for the environment, to tolerate other religions and cultures, to support quality education for all American children or to ever support what is good for all in this country.  Just because you live in America does not entitle you to have everything suiting your personal preferences.

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it. George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950

When Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor" did he mean only those of your political party, race or sexual orientation? When he spent time with the poor did he say "take a bath and get a job"?  No, he just fed them. His whole ministry was based on social justice. On his last day Jesus's greatest example was of washing others' feet. He was not belligerent, angry or insisting he was right - just humble and serving.

I do not believe in a paranoid, doomsday approach to life. This contradicts faith. I do not believe that attacking others solves anything. Any fool can spout hatred and intolerance. Hateful emails and rhetoric only serve to divide us further.

In my Bible Christian morals do not include intolerance. Jesus loved the outcast tax collector, the leper, the prostitute, the poor. If you are a Christian then you must believe that Jesus brought a new covenant of love, compassion and forgiveness, supplanting some of the Old Testament ways.  We are all imperfect, all sinners, all need forgiveness. Don't hate someone just because they sin differently than you.

The highest result of education is tolerance. Helen Keller

You can safely assume that you have created God in your own image when God hates all the same people you do.  Anne Lamott

And.... there is no War on Christmas.  We should be thankful we have have the freedom to celebrate it. Insisting that everyone respect one holiday while disrespecting their religious freedom ( or freedom from it)  is shameful. In American no one will prevent you from praying or worshiping. Is one's faith so small that someone not saying Merry Christmas will hamper the celebration? Jesus does not care whether someone says Merry Christmas, but he does care that you love your neighbor and honor Him through love and respect for all. Many of our ideas about "the way things should be" were formed in our childhoods, but we are not living in those years any longer.  Let God do the judging.

And finally in the words of Betty White: I don't know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs and don't worry about other people so much!

Let's be FOR each other instead of AGAINST each other.
Come let us reason together - Isaiah 1:18